What Is a Pour-Over Will, and Do You Need One?

A pour-over will helps many people have peace of mind that after they are gone, their chosen relatives or friends will be protected. This popular and easy to create estate planning structure “pours over” all or some of your assets into a trust.

How Does a Pour-Over Will Work?

To create a pour-over will, you need to sign both (1) a will that includes special language, and (2) a trust. The will specifies that you leave all of your assets (or just some of them) to the trust. The trust can operate during your lifetime, and you can place assets into it then if you wish.

After you pass away, your executor and the trustee simply ensure that all your assets go straight into the trust. There is very little estate administration beyond that task (just filing taxes and the like). A pour-over will greatly simplifies the estate distribution process.

Once the assets move into the trust, your trustee should manage the assets and invest them prudently. Your chosen beneficiaries can receive distributions from the trust, on a regular schedule, on a discretionary basis, or for basic support needs.

Why Should You Create a Pour-Over Will?

Pour-over wills provide many benefits for people who create them, their executors, and their relatives who inherit. These benefits include:

  • Reducing the cost of probate or eliminating the need for it altogether
  • Simplifying the estate distribution process
  • Controlling distributions of your assets to relatives or other beneficiaries after your death
  • Potentially saving your estate tax and administration costs

Creating a pour-over will and accompanying trust also takes very little time or effort if you work with a knowledgeable lawyer. Before you meet with the lawyer, think about which assets you want to place in the trust, rather than giving them to heirs through direct bequests in your will. Also consider who you will choose as the trust beneficiaries and who would be best suited as a trustee. Giving some thought to these questions will help you prepare for the lawyer’s questions and get your estate plan made efficiently.

Want to start planning your estate? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.

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